Public Swimming Pool Drowning

Result: Settlement before trial.

This case involved a tragic drowning of a 26-year-old woman who was taking swimming lessons in the Tukwila City Pool to overcome her fear of the water prior to departing for her honeymoon that was scheduled 3 months later. Candice Green suffered severe anoxic brain injury when she drowned which caused her death. Candice’s swimming instructor allowed her to remain in the deep end of the pool and the instructor left the pool deck area without notifying the on-duty lifeguard of Candice’s presence. The Tukwila Pool Operations Manual and the American Red Cross (certifying agency for lifeguards) specifically state that an instructor should never leave a class unattended and it is the lifeguard’s responsibility to guard, protect and save lives. The single on-duty lifeguard was sitting in a portable, non-elevated chair on the pool deck nearest to the pool wall where Candice was found. The on-duty lifeguard was unaware of Candice’s presence in the deep end until a lap swimmer saw her body at the bottom of the pool. According to universal lifeguarding techniques adopted by the Tukwila Pool, the on-duty lifeguard should have scanned the entire pool once every 10 seconds and made contact with any victim in 20 seconds (the “10/20 rule”), and any blind spots should have been eliminated by adjusting body position or cruising the deck. Because these policies were not followed, the Tukwila Pool lifeguard never saw Candice in the pool before being alerted by the lap swimmer. This case was settled prior to trial.